Dancers take last twirls at hotel’s ballroom

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A TRADITIONAL tea dance that has been going for more than 40 years is looking forward to a new future.

Organiser Steve Kingsley has run the dance for the past four decades – originally starting on South Parade Pier.

Steve Kingsley and Pat Andrews with members of the group.''Picture: Sarah Standing (170464-5537)

Steve Kingsley and Pat Andrews with members of the group.''Picture: Sarah Standing (170464-5537)

But he has decided to step down and hand the reins to Pat Andrews, who will take up organising the dance in a new location – The Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsea.

In recent times, the dance has been held at the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea and the last dance at the hotel was held on Wednesday.

More than 90 people went to the event to say goodbye to Steve, who is looking forward to enjoying some more free time although he will continue to run nightclub Kingsley’s in Osborne Road, Southsea.

Steve, from Anchorage Park, said: ‘After 40 years we are still getting the numbers so it’s nice to go out on a high.

‘I’ve had really good memories there – it’s been nothing but happy memories.

‘It’s been happy times with lovely people. Many relationships have started through the club. Music makes the world go round.’

Pat, from Southsea, said the members were sad to see Steve go.

She said: ‘Steve started it all – it was his dance.

‘We’re really sorry to see him go, some of the members were in mourning as the future of the club looked unsure too. So I thought I would try and take it on.

‘There are a lot of people who go to the dance who are on their own and it’s a highlight for them. Plus it’s a great way to keep fit so I’m hoping that it carries on.’

Pat said the dance will take place at a new venue – The Royal Maritime Club – as the hotel was becoming harder to book as it became more popular for functions.

She said: ‘We want to say a big thank you to the Royal Beach who have been marvellous. It’s a wonderful hotel and we are grateful for their support over the past few years.’

The next meeting will take place on September 20, with regular dates booked until December. Entry is £4.50.

For more information call (023) 9234 5885.